NEED HELP? 1-800-273-8255 TXT "CTL" to 741741
I have struggled with isolation for a long time now. It started when I was in school. I slowly started to separate myself from friends because of my depression. When I graduated, I went to college then dropped out shortly after. After that I ended up staying in the house and not going out. I don’t really have any friends and I was having trouble making them so I had no reason to leave the house other than therapy. Not only the depression but my paranoia makes leaving the house almost impossible. I started to think that if I leave the house I’ll be ridiculed or hurt by the outside. It worsens my state of mind everyday when I think about how I have no one to reach out to. In some way, I feel like no one is reaching out to me so I end up getting upset with the outside world and I shut down. I’ve missed out on a lot of interactions and events due to my isolation and fear. The worst part is that I feel as though I cannot control it but rather it controls me. This really hinders my ability to interact with society and stops me from moving on with my life and becoming a fully functional adult. The COVID pandemic plays a big role in my isolation as well seeing as it amplified my paranoia and feelings of depression. Has COVID affected you guys in any way? Has it made things easier? I know there are others out there that fight the same battle. I would love to know what you do to overcome your anxiety and isolation. Please let me know in the comments what you do and if you relate.
Hi Mariah! You talked about isolation hindering your ability to interact with society, this has happened to me as well, during quarantine and then talking to people you haven’t seen in a long time, the first time I called someone I was like,?? do I remember how to interact with people? it’s difficult, even in therapy i get nervous about talking to someone that’s not my family. to cope, I listen to music and try to talk to more people. the internship has been great for me, the meetings are a great way to reintroduce structure. thank you for sharing! : )
Mariah! thank you so much for sharing your story of how isolation has taken over your life. I can definitely relate to your experience. My depression and anxiety has made it hard to maintain friendships and relationships because I feel like all I can do is survive the day. I have a lot of unhealthy thought patterns around socializing, often believing that I am a burden to others and that I will ultimately be abandoned. It can be really hard to break free of these toxic thoughts and eventually it becomes a self fulfilling prophecy. Personally I’ve learned the best way to beat my own negative self talk is radical self acceptance and gradual exposure to the things that make me feel anxious. I tend to look at my mental illness and the voice in my head that tells me that I am no good as an enemy, which has actually helped a lot. If my brain tells me: “you are not worthy of healthy relationships” I catch that thought and think, is this how I would talk to a friend? It isn’t and I then repeat the exact opposite message to myself, “I am worthy of healthy relationships”. If I think “I am not capable of accomplishing this because of my mental illness”, I turn the thought around and think, “I can be capable of this even despite my mental illness, and failure is okay because I will be resilient and try again.” I look at the things that my mental illness likes to claim that I can’t do and then try and do them out of spite. My mental illness does not have the best intentions for me. The thoughts and behaviors that have developed once protected me, but they are now holding me back and I refuse to be held back.
I hope that helps 🙂
Hi Mariah, thanks for sharing. What you’re going through sounds awful and I hope it gets better once quarantine ends. Until then, the way I’ve been thinking of it is that quarantine’s an opportunity to help manage social interaction better. Almost like social interaction on easy mode, if that makes sense. You can talk to people without having to be face to face, which make interactions less stressful. Idk if that’ll help you, but I’ve definitely been thinking of stuff like that when I’m trying to look for positives in this thing.
Anyway, until this ends, stay strong! Isolation sucks but it’s not forever. Once the world opens up, all of us can open with it 😀
Mariah, thanks for sharing your experience! I struggle a lot with social anxiety and often find I isolate myself from people because I get so nervous and worked up about talking to new people and sometimes even people I know well. I really have to push myself to get out of the house and I’ve found that taking things really slow and in small steps is helpful. Instead of pushing myself to do something to the full extent, I’ll try just leaving the house and being around people for a bit and then work my up to talking to people and then more and more until I feel more comfortable maybe doing the full thing of whatever the situation is. The pandemic has really made it difficult to feel connected and I find it so easy to fall into staying in my room all the time because there isn’t anything else to do. Recently, I’ve tried just reaching out via text to a friend or family member as a step in the right direction of feeling a little less isolated. Again, I think taking things in small steps is really helpful for me. I totally feel you though and I think things will get easier with time. Hang in there!
TurningPointCT.org was developed by young people in Connecticut who are in recovery from mental health and substance use issues. We know what it’s like to feel alone, stressed, worried, sad, and angry. We’ve lived through the ups and downs of self-harm, drugs and alcohol, and the struggle to find help.
Learn More »